There roam quite a lot of Peugeot 3008 and 308s in my area and generally in Denmark. They have made me think about brightwork and Mercedes.
I read recently that Peugeot is climbing up the estimation rankings of consumers in Europe. And I notice that in recent years Peugeot has not been afraid to sprinkle a little and sometimes a lot of brightwork magic on their cars. It seems to be optional but with a lot of uptake. If we think back to maybe ten years ago and further, this kind of thing did not feature much on their cars. It probably had to to with some kind of reticence regarding ostentation. Worthy as that might be, it led to some decent cars looking a lot less attractive than they could have been.
In parallel to this I wonder if I could ask if Peugeot has woken up the enduring appeal of brightwork as demonstrated by our old reference points, the Mercedes of the 1970s?
Apart from a sudden change in fashion nullifying my contention, brightwork would appear to be of enduring appeal. It stays looking attractive even as other styling touche wither. And once a new car ages, it may lose alot but brightwork can signal quality (real or imagined) so as to give a little extra to the second, third and fourth owners. And if that can nudge resale prices back up, you get a long term path to higher residuals and ultimately better first-time transactions.
The 3008 in particular has caught my eye and if you were to ask what a nicelly tinselled car might look like, the 3008 is a good example. Peugeot have probably turned out one of the best looking cross-overs of recent years, which has much to do with the original way the body-trim has been handled. It’s a posh looking vehicle, I contend.
The 508, despite my misgiving about the lamps, is very clearly a good, solid middle class kind of car too, approximating to Buick perhaps. I don’t mean in that it is a huge land-yacht but that it is a decently comfortable and sufficiently luxurious-looking car to appeal to middle-class drivers who don’t want to show off and maybe don’t want to slum it. Opel’s current Astra estate, with the chrome DLO strip achieved much the same end.
There are other factors in Peugeot’s resurgence. I think the willingness to show off with some chrome is a reflection of that but also a signal to customers to look again. Interestingly and confoundingly, the 508 does not have much by way of brightwork, not even as an option. While I understand not everyone wants this, some very much do so it is a puzzle that for the want of 50 euros of chrome strip, Peugeot have alienated that upper-middle customer.
Ford, Opel and Renault have not been shy about offering a bechromed version of their larger cars, so it seems unclear as to why Peugeot has reverted to 405, 406 type and left their otherwise pretty decent contender a bit barer in the showroom than it might be. If you want to steal sales from Mercedes, don’t offer any excuses to dodge a sale.